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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

where do you work out?

Ullock Pike walk

Ullock Pike Walk

When it comes to the weekend, I don’t want to be sweating it out in a gym class with 30 other people or dragging myself out for a run I really don’t want to do.  Weekends are for fun, for relaxing, for spending time with friends and family and enjoying yourself.  However, and there’s always a however, I may have convinced myself recently that I can eat like a horse without upping my exercise and not expect to see any effect.  Only I did, the scales went up, the waistband is getting tighter.  So this means while I still want to relax and have fun at the weekend, it’s probably a good idea for me to try and shift my ass a little, just to allow for those glasses or seven of Prosecco I’m likely to indulge in, not to mention the burger and chips I’m treating myself to in the pub, the pancakes I decide to cook up for breakfast, and the bag of chocolates I’m taking to the cinema.

So this weekend, in an attempt to get the best of both worlds, with the Lake District on our doorstep and a forecast that wasn’t showing rain (it’s true!), heading out on Saturday to go walk up a big hill seemed much more appealing than a half-hearted run that was over before it had even started (running and I have had a little fall out since straining my hip flexor nearly 3 months ago). 


Ullock Pike walk

Ullock Pike walk

It was a 6 mile walk, and the route was described as being "moderate". I think moderate would be the right word if you’re the kind of person who wouldn’t be phased scaling Ben Nevis.  I consider myself pretty fit, but after an hour of walking (read: climbing) I was sweating, my heart rate had hit 180bpm and my thighs were burning.  But with the peak just in front of us, I wasn’t going to give in.  Only those Cumbrian fells tend to be a bit deceiving, and for every 20 minutes we went on, there seemed to be another peak to scale.  Ok, so I’m being overly dramatic, but this ‘walk’ was considerably harder than expected.  I couldn’t really complain though, there happened to be a 44 mile hill race going on at the same time.  44 miles! That’s almost two marathons, running up hills like this! And I was barely managing to walk up it, got to admire the guys talking part in that.

After a lot of huffing and puffing, half my body weight sweated out, legs willing me to stop and two hours later than planned we made it back to the car, and actually, I really enjoyed it.  And the unexpected additional calorie burn was well worth it.  I’d much rather spend the day pushing myself through something like this, when aside from the couple of kilometres of pain, was a really lovely walk, good weather, a day with the mr, and is going to help me shift those extra pounds I’ve been carrying recently.  For me, during the week it’s easy to stick to my usual gym routines, it’s close to work, it’s on my way home and so I really don’t have any excuse to skip it.  But when it comes to the weekend, it’s definitely about mixing up where I’m heading to work out, it keeps it interesting and I know I’m going to enjoy it a hell of a lot more than my usual slog round the park.

Ullock Pike walk

Ullock Pike walk

Shock absorber sports bra

And this has definitely made me even more motivated to get out and try something new at the weekend.  I'm lucky to have such an incredible part of the country just 45 minutes down the road, but there's more I want to try and do.  I'd love to have a go at proper climbing (on an indoor climbing wall, I'm not totally crazy), I've been contemplating giving mixed martial arts a try, and even those runs I don't want to do can seem much more appealing if I drive half an hour from home and do a totally different route to my usual!

So I'm sure you're wondering why I've ruined all these photos with a less than flattering one of me in my sports bra.  Well it was thanks to this sports bra and Shock Absorber that I got myself out to do this, they challenged me to work out somewhere new, with a new brand to see what difference it makes.  As you can see from this post, it's definitely motivated me to take my workout elsewhere, and the bra? Well it kept my boobs supported all day, and it looks pretty too, what more could I want?

So what about you? Fancy joining the challenge to take your workout somewhere new? And if you do, be sure to let me know!
Ullock pike walk
Ullock Pike walk
Ullock Pike walk

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

eating our way round canada

Granville Market - Cake stall

A holiday wouldn't be a holiday without some serious food indulgence, and in Canada, we made sure we did just that! And with portions that could easily have fed the two of us, it would have been easy to suggest sharing some courses, but with eyes bigger than our bellies on most occasions we went the whole hog.

Usually when we go on holiday, we get lazy and just wander to the local high street, assuming we'll stumble across a restaurant that'll be do the job and keep our rumbling stomachs quiet, but this time we did our research.  From checking out Tripadvisor to reading blog reviews to make sure we wouldn't be disappointed.  And we definitely weren't.  Unfortunately my photography skills plus bad restaurant lighting doesn't do half of these meals justice.

And in bad blogger form, I didn't even manage to take a quick iphone snap of some of the best meals we had.  A Banff vegan restaurant, Nourish, that we stumbled across by accident on our first day was incredible.  We wandered past and liked the look of the salads some other customers were eating so popped in, don't judge me but I doubt we'd have stopped at a vegan place had we read the menu first, but oh my. I had the beautiful burrito and it was amazing, a definite recommendation for anyone visiting that area.  It was so good, we almost went back for dinner that same day!
Cafe Medina Cassoulet

Cafe Medina Cassoulet

Cafe Medina waffles
Tripadvisor led us to Medina Cafe in Vancouver where we headed for brunch, sampling their skillets full of tender meat and perfectly fried eggs.  Leaving just enough room for a single waffle for afters.  I had mine with salted caramel sauce (which I successfully dripped all down my white top) and the Mr gave their famous milk chocolate lavender sauce a go.  Don't be put off if you think you don't like floral flavoured things, I usually don't but that was delicious. 

My mum and I's favourite memories of the first visit to Canada, was Granville Island.  Sitting watching the locals wandering around, others dancing to the local buskers and us deciding what to eat from the endless stalls.  So of course, our trip to Vancouver wouldn't have been complete without a visit this time. I'm sure the food stalls have doubled, and everything looks even better than I'd remembered.  We must have walked round that market for a good hour before we finally settled on what to have for our lunch. Although I must admit, after much uhming and ahhing we gave in and had hotdogs..., still, they were damn good hotdogs.  And just look at the colours of all that fruit and veg, if that isn't going to inspire you to cook with fresh ingredients then what would? 

Granville Island - berries

Granville Island - fruit and veg

Granville Island - fruit

I could write endlessly about the food we ate, but instead I think I'll let the photos do the talking, and the mouths do the dribbling.  And if you're planning on heading over there anytime soon, let me know and I'm sure I'll be able to point you in the direction of the best cake, the biggest portion of calamari, and the place where you get a whole loaf of bread as a starter! If you like you're food, then I'd highly recommend a trip to Canada.

Wild Tale Coastal Grill

Wild Tale Coastal Grill

Famoso Pizza - Jasper

Burgoo Bistro - Nachos

Burgoos Bistro - Grilled Chees

Purebread Whistler

Purebread Whistler

Purebread Whistler

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

a canadian adventure

Clearwater Lake - Canada

Mout Falls Canada

Sasquatch Zipwire - Whistler

I went to Canada when I was 15 with my parents, as a moody teenager I was completely unimpressed with all the views we had to stop and look at every 5 minutes, and was resentful about being away for 3 weeks during the summer holidays.  So I never thought I would do pretty much exactly the same holiday 16 years later.  But after watching Victoria and Carly’s vlogs from their trips over there, it jumped to the top of my bucket list (can you call it a bucket list when you’ve done it before?).  For the last few years, all I’ve wanted from a holiday is sun, beautiful beaches and a week chilling out on a sun lounger, and as appealing as that still always is, and always will be, this year I wanted a bit more adventure.

It might sound cheesy, and I’m sure most people would roll their eyes at this, but since becoming fitter and more active, I actually want to spend holidays being more active too.  I’m not rushing to go to the gym every day, or set out on long runs, but just being out and about doing stuff rather than spending 8 hours a day topping up my tan and sipping on cocktails.  Obviously, I always still want to enjoy or drink or two, but it’s even more satisfying after a day’s exploring, and Canada gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that.

So I basically just recreated Victoria and Carly’sTrek America’ trip, only without the camping, because me and tents do not get along.  We copied their route (only the other way round) and booked various accommodation from swanky hotels (we nabbed a good deal) to a tiny little wooden cottage. We hired a car to get us through the rockies, and emptied our bank balances on all the activities.  While we spent a small fortune, it was definitely the holiday of a lifetime, and I would encourage anyone to do the same trip, it was incredible!!

And all that activity meant I could eat all of the great food over there, but more on that later, I’m thinking a whole post dedicated to the pretty epic food I ate, turns out Canadian’s portions are as big as Americans.

We started our trip in Banff, luggage free as Air France had kindly left our cases in Paris, so spent our first morning in GAP buying 'essentials' and discovering their GapBody knickers are the softest underwear I've ever owned.  Feeling much more refreshed after a shower and a set of clean clothes, we headed up the gondola and admired the views, our first real sights of the Canadian rockies.

Banff, Canada

Canoeing Lake Louise

Still fighting jet leg, we were up early day 2 and made it to Lake Louise before the rest of the tourists arrived.  This meant we had the place virtually to ourselves and got out on a canoe with no-one else to ruin our photos.  And a wrong turn on the way back to our hotel took us the 'scenic' route, where we saw two black bears cross the road in front of us, literally 2 feet away from the car, amazing!
From Banff we made our way to Jasper, stopping at the Athabasca Glacier.  One thing I did remember from my trip when I was 15 was that it was cold up there, I remember my dad's pasty white legs as he shivered in shorts, so we wrapped up and still barely managed the full half hour out on the ice.  

With a day of pouring rain, and not much else to do in Jasper other than hike, we hibernated in our log cabin and ate cake for the day before moving on to Clearwater.

Bear Lodge, Jasper
Athabasca Glacier

Clearwater Lake

Whitewater rafting - Clearwater

We stayed in Clearwater because it was close to Wells Gray National Park and a good stop off point between Jasper and Whistler.  While the town isn't worth writing home about, our B&B was.  It was set right on the lake, where you could wander down to the waterfront, go for a swim with the turtles (yes, really!) or take the boats out for a paddle it was truly idyllic.  I could quite happily have stayed here for a week, but we made the most of our time and squeezed in waterfalls, white water rafting and more canoeing. 

From Clearwater we drove to Whistler, oh Whistler! I loved it here, a quaint little town centre which is fully pedestrianised, surrounded by outdoorsy shops, restaurants and art galleries.  Everyone in Whistler looks healthy, all clad in lycra and trainers, ready to go for a run or hire a bike.  The town is set up for activity, there's so much to do.  In Summer mountain biking is hugely popular, and there's the incredible peak to peak gondola, and not forgetting the Sasquatch zipwire, the longest zipwire in Canada and all of the USA, at a mere 2km, where you travel up to 70mph.  Yes I did do it, yes I was shitting myself, and yes I'd do it all over again, it was amazing.  


Peak 2 Peak Gondola Whister

Cake, Whistler

Sasquatch Zipwire - Whistler

From Whistler we then moved to our last stop of the holiday, Vancouver.  With 4 nights here we had plenty of time to explore, shop (at last!) and eat. We cycled round Stanley Park, ate tacos on the waterfront, and walked across the Capilano suspension bridge.  We drooled over all the food at Granville island, went shopping in Gastown and discovered Coffee Crisps, my new favourite chocolate bar.

Capilano Tree Top Trek

Vancouver waterside

Granville Island

Stanley Park, Vancouver

Granville Island

And that was it, our 2 week whirlwind tour was over.  Definitely, the best holiday I've had, I'm pleased to say I appreciated it much more than I did when I was 15, and I've even come home feeling even more inspired to lead a healthy life, the Canadian's know how to do it.

So, now I need to start planning the next holiday, any destination suggestions?

Thursday, 8 June 2017

the perfect fit - hunkemoller sports bra

Hunkemoller sports bra

Hunkemoller sports bra

Exercising and me haven't always been friends, but I'm proud to say I've been regularly working out now for 2 and a half years, I can't really believe it either.  I started because I was getting married, it seems that was the motivation I needed to get my ass (quite literally) into gear.  I headed up to my local outlet village and bought myself a pair of trainers, and two sports bras.  The sports bras were on offer, two for £20 from Sports Direct.  I went for the cheap ones, figuring this flirtation with exercise wouldn't last long, so at least I wouldn't feel like I'd wasted too much money.

Fast forward to today, and those sports bras are still going strong being worn regularly.  Given that they're washed every week, if not twice a week, without fail, they've been put through their paces (yes I am going to fill this post with sporting puns), and they're only just starting to look a little faded and providing not quite as much support as I'd like.  

I've never been one for having much look finding bras that fit, in fact I even wrote a post about it many moons ago, and sports bras are no exception, comfy and supportive are even more essential when your boobs are in for some serious motion (I almost wrote action, but I think that's a very different thing).  

Hunkemoller, a brand I'd never heard of until now, have answered my prayers, they dedicate themselves to making sure you get the right fit. And what's even better is their specific sportswear range, three different levels to choose from to suit your workout. I used the sports bra calculator to help me pick a level 3 (high intensity) bra to make sure these bad boys aren't going anywhere.  Now that I'm running more (ok, currently less as I've got an injury but hopefully not for much longer) and I'm doing more HIIT workouts, I need some serious scaffolding to keep them place.

Hunkemoller sports bra
Sports Bra - *Hunkemoller Leggings - *Lole

Grasmere lake

a prosecco picnic

So with a birthday walk in the sunshine planned, it seemed the perfect excuse to take my new sports bra out for a trial run (geddit?!).  No, I probably didn't need to wear a super supportive bra for a gentle wander round a lake, but when it looks this pretty, and running is on hold for a while, I had to give it it's first outing.  

I might have had to limp my way round, with a well deserved picnic and prosecco break half way, but on first wear, it gets a big thumbs up for me.  And when I've had chance to give it a proper workout, I'll report back, but for now, I'd highly recommend checking out Hunkemoller's range, I might have to treat myself to a level 1 and a level 2 version just so I have all bases covered, and at least now I know, I'll always get the perfect size.

Grasmere lake


So what do you reckon, are you going to be heading to Hunkemoller to find that perfect fit?

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